Who are Dyslexic Students?
What are Strategies for Teaching Dyslexic Students?
What Policies have the State of Texas Enacted
Can you read the letters in the word, “cat”?
Can you tell me the phonemes in the word, “cat”?
Can you put the phonemes together and read the word
Can you read the word, “cat” silently in your head?
Can you tell me the meaning of the word, “cat”?
Can you tell me the visual and verbal schema you have for
the word, “cat”?
Can you close your eyes and see the spelling of the word,
With your eyes closed, can you tell me where the letter “a”
falls in the word “cat”?
Can you tell me where the letter “c” falls in the word
These steps demonstrate what the human brain has to
process in order to read text. Fortunately, for most
humans these steps become automatic with words we
However, the human brain is not hard-wired to learn to
We are hardwired for visual memory/visual perception,
auditory processing, working memory, and language
Neurological research has discovered individuals with
dyslexia have structural differences in their brain (left
side and center) that effect their visual perception and
auditory processing abilities.
Individuals with dyslexia have visual perceptual
instability—especially unsteady binocular fixation.
This means letters appear to move around and cross
over each other, and it is difficult for them to maintain
a visual focus. However, it is also easier for them to see
the whole picture at once which increases their ability
to problem solve in “creative” ways.
Individuals with dyslexia are extremely sensitive to
visual motion, which makes it difficult for them to see
“fixed” images like text and effects their orthographic
Sometimes covering one eye can help someone with
dyslexia focus on print text because it reduces their
unsteady binocular fixation.
Individuals with dyslexia also have phonological
processing difficulties (sight-sound connection).
They have difficulties differentiating changes in sound
They also have difficulties using “inner speech” to
“sound out” words.
There is a high correlation between being dyslexic and
Even with these difficulties, dyslexic students can still
attain high levels of literacy!
What stands out to you about dyslexia from this video?
Briana is severely dyslexic.
She is also extremely creative and gifted in the visual arts.
In third grade Briana was reading at a beginning first grade
She has been in several reading intervention programs such as
Lindamood Bell, the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center, and the
California State University Los Angeles Reading Clinic.
In fifth grade Briana was home schooled because neither public
nor private schools could adequately help her with reading and
she needed intensive instruction to progress.
Briana is in the sixth grade and now attends a special private
school designed for students like her where she is excelling.
Time: Extra time to decode print text that appears in
movable, three-dimensional forms.
Visual Memory: Strategies that help students retain
the visual memory of words.
Text Selection: Reading material that is interesting to
help motivate the student to undertake the laborious
task of decoding print.
Focus: Cues to help students maintain their visual
focus as they’re reading (e.g., marking their place with
Look at the word, cover it, and write it in the air.
Spell words with three dimensional letter blocks.
Use sign language to spell words.
Ask students to visualize what a word looks like in their mind.
Ask students to visualize each letter of a word and identify its
position in the word (e.g., what is the third letter in the word
Ask students to “chunk” words into smaller patterns. (“Where
would you break this word?”)
Ask students to draw pictures for everything (e.g., vocabulary,
concepts). Cartoons and graphic novels are important scaffolds.
Writing instruction needs to be formulaic, concrete, structured
Imagine two strings coming out of your ears and extending to a
point behind your head. Pull this point through your forehead
and use it to zero in on text you are reading. Focus on this point
as you read.
(1) Dyslexia results in difficulty with phonological and
visual memory of words, confusion of vowels, and
graphophonemic knowledge (spelling patterns)
(2) Dyslexia applies to all languages
(3) Regular Classroom teachers:
Need to allow additional time to decipher words
Should not count off for spelling, and
Should give students word banks for tests and
(1) Explicit/direct instruction in how language functions
(assume no prior knowledge)
Cumulative, systematic format with lots of repetition (e.g.,
logic of word structure, phonemic awareness)
Sequential presentation (i.e., letters, syllables, words,
Small increments of new learning
Intensive, highly concentrated instruction
Meaning based (the ultimate goal is comprehension)
Multisensory (the use of two or more sensory modalities
simultaneously to take in or express information)
Work on fluent, automatic reading with lots of repeated
How is dyslexia defined in the state of Texas?
“Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin
manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or
spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate
intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity” (p. 8).
What are literacy behaviors of students 4th-12th grade that
may signal to teachers a student has dyslexia?
Has a history of reading and spelling difficulties
Avoids reading aloud
Reads most materials slowly; oral reading is labored,
Avoids reading for pleasure
May have an inadequate vocabulary
Has difficulty spelling; may resort to using less
complicated words in writing that are easier to spell
How is a student formally assessed with dyslexia?
Step One: Districts and charter schools must collect
information about the student (i.e., repeated assessments of
achievement at reasonable intervals –progress monitoring) (p.
District or charter school recommends assessment for
dyslexia if the student demonstrates the following:
(1) Poor performance in one or more areas of reading and/or the
related area of spelling that is unexpected for the student’s
(2) Characteristics of dyslexia
Step Two: Formal assessment by a licensed diagnostician
Based on what we have discussed in class today, what kind of
instruction do students with dyslexia benefit from in high
school content area classes?